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Classic/Antique Car Repair/Hotwiring a 1934 automobile


Hi there, I am a writer of children's fiction in the UK, and need my teen hero to start a car that isn't his without a key - I've said it's an early 30s Hillman Minx but it could be anything. I want to be able to give some detail as to how he would do this, but cannot find any information. Would it more likely be a case of touching wires together, or of improvising an ignition key? Any guidance most welcome! The book will be published next year by Random House UK and I will of course credit you in the acknowledgement for any info!

Good morning:
At least it is morning here. Well, I am intrigued by this question but I have a question or two before answering. The main question is what age group is your story aimed at, a pre-teen audience, a teen audience, or younger? Does your character have time to prepare for this event or is is a spur of the moment event like making a getaway from villains? There are several ways to jump start this car. One is by opening the hood on the left side of the car (that is the side of the car that we colonist put the steering wheel) and using a short length of wire, not battery jumper cable size, connect the live side of the ignition coil to the starter connecting, which is located right below the coil, and then closing the hood (bonnet), getting into the car and pressing the starter button and driving away. Of course this job is much easier if he had the time to make the short piece of wire up before hand with alligator clips on each end of the wire. The other, actually the more difficult but the one most often seen in the movies, is to tear the wires off the back of the ignition switch up under the dash and connecting them all together and the pressing the starter button and driving away. The little problem here is that the wires will most likely not be stripped of the insulation covering and he will have to do that so that the wires will make a good connection.  I have researched the wiring diagrams and component location on the 34 Hillman and the methods are accurate for this car. My personal e-mail is

Classic/Antique Car Repair

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Brad Sears


All automotive including antique and collectible. However if the car has been modified I can only answer in general terms and maybe get you pointed in the right direction.


Automotive tech instructor. Syndicated auto columnist 1970's though the early 1990's. Syndicated auto radio talk show, Ask Brad About cars, CBS Radio 70's through 90's TV Show "Last Chance Garage" 1980's PBS-TV syndicated. Auto instructor for the following companies: Fram Autolyte Holly Carter AMF Ford Motor University Of Conn Blue Hills Technical School Sugar River Technical Center Grew up in a family garage in Needham Mass and turned wrenches from the age of 14.

Manchester Union Leader, Nashua Telegraph, Motor Service Magazine, Yankee Magazine, Popular Mechanics (Saturday Mechanic early 80's), Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and lots more.

More than I care to remember. Basically Franklin Technical Institute in Boston, Northeastern University, Fitchburg State Teachers College, Tufts University, and a lot of factory schools along the way.

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Moto Award winner. And much more.

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